Rodri Hernandez and Joao Cancelo Analysis

Rodri Hernandez

Manchester City are the kings of the transfer market. They never seem to get the biggest name of a window but their business is always very clever and efficient. It seems this summer will be no different with Tixi Bergstein and company look to be winning the race to seal deals for Joao Cancelo and Rodri, according to James Ducker inĀ The Telegraph.

Rodri Hernandez and Joao Cancelo

Flexibility

Cancelo allows for fluid formations. Pep Guardiola toyed with the idea of a back-three but it never really became too prominent. Kyle Walker, who recently signed a contract extension until 2024, will certainly not be pushed to the wayside. Walker has been excellent for the majority of his tenure at the Etihad and this signing will help to keep him on his toes. However, it could also lead to the England international slotting into the right of a back-three, much like he did for England in the World Cup.

There is even the possibility to play Walker as part of two centre-backs. City will come up against some teams that sit deep and look to hit them on the counter with a pacey attacker. Walker’s inclusion as a centre-back nullifies that threat of counter-attacking speed.

Given the extortionate pricing of Harry Maguire, it wouldn’t be surprising for Walker to be used as a makeshift centre-back. City are not a club who are going to panic and pay over-the-odds for any player; they’ve just won the domestic treble!

Timing Key For Rodri Hernandez

Signing Rodri now is very clever. He will come in as an understudy to Fernandinho but one would imagine that they will share the minutes. City’s 34-year-old Brazilian has been a fantastic number-six but every dog has its day. Rodri will learn from Fernandinho and acclimatize to English football.

Rodri will need to transition from the 4-4-2 of Atletico Madrid to Guardiola’s 4-3-3. The 4-4-2 has two number-six players that look to control the game from deep. Atletico’s style can be quite rigid and pragmatic and is very much based upon shape and structure over possession and flamboyance. There is a big difference between the philosophy of both clubs.

At City, Rodri will have much more expectation and authority. He will not have a number-six partner by his side and he will be expected to take charge of situations when playing out from the back and transitioning from defence to attack. Nonetheless, the signs are positive. He is as good at distributing the ball as he is at winning it back.

What Would This Mean?

These moves immediately improve the depth of their squad and put them firmly in pole position to lift a third Premier League title in three consecutive seasons. The loss of Vincent Kompany is a big blow for City, though, and that may just knock them back a notch unless they find a replacement. Quite how one replaces his leadership capabilities remains to be seen.

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